Optical Illusion to Slow Down Florida Drivers

Closer road lines may get drivers to brake in pilot program

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 13, 2013 11:51 AM CDT

(Newser) – If you can't get drivers to slow down on their own, why not trick them into it? That's the idea behind a pilot program in Florida that will give drivers the illusion they're driving faster than they are. How exactly? With road "hash marks" painted gradually closer together so drivers think they're getting to them sooner—thus they slow down, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports. A similar concept was tried in the state in the 1990s but has since been phased out, and engineers are ready to give it another try—even though a test of the program made "not much of a difference" a few years ago, according to a Department of Transportation rep.

Research showed the tactic resulted in just a 1mph to 2mph drop in speed in the 1990s, a county director says; in Kansas and Virginia, however, the program cut speeds by up to 5mph. But locals seem desperate for something to slow down drivers on Fort Lauderdale's Andrews Avenue, the first testing ground. "Our residents have, for years, complained about the dangerous speeding and aggressive driving on Andrews," says the VP of the local civic association. "Vehicles have plowed into yards, fences, and houses." If all goes well, the program will be expanded.

A Florida pilot program will put road hash lines closer together in the hopes drivers will slow down.
A Florida pilot program will put road hash lines closer together in the hopes drivers will slow down.   (Shutterstock)
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